PowerPoint Made Easy: Ultimate Guide for Beginners
Whether you are attending business meetings, seminars or client pitches, you have probably noticed that there is always a presentation deck all set up for you. Why not? The visualization makes the whole thing more enticing and easier to comprehend—that’s why a lot of professionals run to the aid of using presentation tools like Microsoft PowerPoint. And it’s totally easy to learn how to use PowerPoint, especially for beginners out there who want to amp up their presentation game.
Creating an effective and visually appealing presentation is one of the skills you can brag about when looking for a job. It is one of the demands of today’s job market, so being skilled in PowerPoint the soonest counts.
What is PowerPoint?
Microsoft PowerPoint is a powerful presentation tool from Microsoft Office Suite that lets you create a visually compelling slideshow to fulfill various collaborative projects. It is the earliest and most popular presentation software used in the market today—making it rank 1st among the best presentation software to use in 2020 by TechRadar. It lets you enjoy its flexible features to do its uses which include:
- Business presentations for certain items or services
- Reports for various projects and other professional presentations
- Academic assignments that include reports
- Personal slideshow for your interests
- Event presentations such as in weddings, birthdays, or any other gatherings
- Chart and diagram presentations
The tabs in PowerPoint
Prior to creating a PowerPoint presentation, it is practical to familiarize oneself with the elements that make up a typical window of PowerPoint.
Just like any other Microsoft Office software, the ribbon resides at the top of the window and just below the title bar. It shows the seven tabs you use when creating a slideshow. Here is a quick overview of what each tab does for easier navigation:
- File – This tab is for creating, opening, saving, printing, closing, and sharing a presentation file.
- Home – Management of the clipboard, slides, font of the text, paragraph, drawing, and editing.
- Insert – For addition of any preferred elements in your slideshow like tables, images, illustrations, links, text, and media clips.
- Design – It lets you choose or customize a theme, background, and design for your presentation.
- Transitions – One of the features of PowerPoint is applying transition on each slide, so this tab lets you choose a transition style, preview it, apply effects, and add timing.
- Animations – Another feature is animating objects or text in your slides. This lets you select what type of animation to use, preview it, adjust and apply any other effects, and add timing.
- Slide Show – Here’s the tab for starting the slideshow, setting one up, selecting a monitor, and choosing the presentation view.
- Review – This tab is for any proofreading, accessibility changes, language, comments, and comparisons.
- View – Lastly, this tab is for changing the presentation view, adjusting the master views, zooming in and out, choosing colors, and working with windows and macros.
Creating a presentation
Building your own presentation is very easy. Once you’re familiar with the tabs, navigating through the window will be much easier and faster for you. Here is a quick step-by-step guide to follow on creating your slideshow:
1. Adding a slide
The slides are the individual cards that you use to fill in your content. To add a new slide, head over to PowerPoint’s ribbon and click Insert tab. Then, simply press on the New slide button to create a new slide for you.
The existing slides appear in the form of thumbnails on the sidebar on the left part of the window. There is no limit as to how many slides you can add, but it’s preferable to be mindful on limiting it to a reasonable number.
2. Putting content on your slide
PowerPoint gives you the liberty to include a wide range of objects in your slide, including texts, images, graphs, charts, tables, videos, and more. But in order to curate your content well, choosing the appropriate layout will make your content look seamless. This is done through going over the Home tab and choosing Layout to pick which one suits your idea well.
Upon choosing a layout, you can add the respective content you want as these have boxes that separate different objects in one slide.
3. Picking your theme and style
Once done filling in your content, you can improve on the design of your slides according to your taste. You can work on the visualization not just to make it look presentable, but also add an impact to the message of your presentation.
To customize it, just head over to Design tab and choose one design among the set of thumbnails shown. Or you can pick a PowerPoint theme to save time on designing each slide on your deck.
Keyboard shortcuts are your best friend when trying to be efficient in creating and presenting your presentation. Here are some of the shortcuts in PowerPoint that can come in handy when building a presentation:
- CTRL + N: Create a new presentation
- CTRL + M: Add a new slide
- CTRL + D: Duplicate current slide
- CTRL + Shift + > : Increase font size
- CTRL + Shift + < : Decrease font size
- CTRL + Z: Undo action
- CTRL + Y: Redo action
- Shift + F3: Change case
- Ctrl + E: Center the paragraph
- Ctrl + J: Justify the paragraph
- Ctrl + L: Align left the paragraph
- Ctrl + R: Align right the paragraph
- Slide number + Enter: Go to the slide number
- Tab or Shift-Tab: Move between tabs
- F1: Help
- F5: Start presentation
- Shift + F5: Start presentation at the current slide
- Esc: Stop the presentation
- F7: Check spelling
- F12: Prompt the “Save as”
Tips for effective PowerPoint presentation
Together with your message, the content quality of your presentation makes up the effectiveness of what you want to convey to your audience. So make sure that your slideshow is visually compelling. To help you create an effective presentation, here are some key points to remember:
Limit the number of slides.
Be mindful of the number of slides you make—you don’t want your audience to get bored and overwhelmed with how much you want to present. Just keep the number at a minimum.
Simplify the texts on your content.
To do this, make use of bullets or numberings to shorten points. Try to be brief with your sentences and avoid long paragraphs. No one will be interested in reading a slide full of chunky paragraphs.
Use the appropriate font size and color.
Choosing your font wisely is important for any presentation. You need to take into consideration the audience’s capability to read your slides, so always pick a solid font color and audience-friendly font size.
Make use of visuals.
Objects like images, videos, charts, graphs, and clip arts amplify a point on your content. Practice incorporating them into your slides to make them more engaging.
Proofread for any errors.
Always double check your content for any grammatical errors. An error-free presentation is impressive to the eyes of any viewer.
Label your charts and graphs properly.
Make sure that you name your paragraphs and charts precisely and accurately.
Be consistent with the theme and transitions you use.
Do not let any additional presentation effects overshadow the message of your content. Try to be subtle with your background, theme or transition choices to avoid distracting your audience with busy presentation effects.
Now, you don’t have to worry about owning that next presentation assigned to you. With this quick overview of how to use PowerPoint for beginners, you can totally wing it in no time! You can explore more and enhance your skills in creating your best presentation through taking up a beginner-friendly PowerPoint course. You see, learning to master PowerPoint is easy for any beginner out there.